Dance evacuated due to nearby homicide

All UP students are safe

By Claire Desmarais | October 8, 2018 10:07pm


Students at the dance had to wait for buses to come and pick them up from the Left Bank Annex and take them back to the UP campus.   

Video by Delaney Vetter

A fatal shooting in the area near the annual Campus Program Board Fall Dance on Friday, Oct. 5 led Public Safety to evacuate students from the Left Bank Annex at around 11:45 p.m. No UP students were hurt.

On Friday night, 35-year-old Robert J. James fired a gun and shot three people, according to police. He was arrested at the scene. 

Photo from Portland Police Bureau 

According to a news release by the Portland Police Bureau, a shooter fired a gun and struck three people near NE Multnomah Ave. and NE Wheeler St: two adult males and one adult female. Later, the two males arrived at one hospital in a private vehicle and the female arrived in a separate private vehicle to a separate hospital. Emergency staff personnel declared one of the adult men deceased, while the other two victims were treated with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. 

A police officer who happened to be nearby heard shots and saw a man holding a gun. The suspect, 35-year-old Robert J. James, was arrested on site and faces a murder charge. Police identified the person killed as 44-year-old Markell Devon Jones.

Markell Devon Jones was fatally shot by 35-year-old Robert J. James Friday night, according to police. 

Photo from Portland Police Bureau 

Around 11:45 p.m., the DJ announced that students needed to evacuate the Left Bank Annex. According to Monica Perez, a CPB fall dance coordinator, evacuating the building was P-Safe’s decision and CPB leadership followed their direction throughout the situation. P-safe did not allow students to immediately leave the dance by Uber or Lyft because of safety concerns, but directed students to load into available busses.

Gerry Gregg, director of Public Safety, said P-Safe decided that keeping people near the venue until they could load them into buses was “the safest way to get everyone out of the area.” 

While in the building, students crowded around the coat check area to retrieve items dropped off when they first arrived at the dance. P-safe collected the coats and brought them back to campus to allow students to pick them up. 

“We couldn’t have asked for a better response from P-Safe or even the student body,” Jillian Giorgio, a CPB fall dance coordinator, said. “We’re really glad about how it went, and that everyone was safe, and that it all happened so smoothly.” 

Claire Desmarais is the news and managing editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at